football Edit

By the numbers: Nittany Lions send six to NFL Draft

Miles Sanders was Penn State's first off the board in this year's NFL Draft, selected No. 53 overall in the second round to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Miles Sanders was Penn State's first off the board in this year's NFL Draft, selected No. 53 overall in the second round to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 2019 edition of the NFL Draft was, by historical standards, a very good one for the Penn State football program.

Though the Nittany Lions didn't send the No. 1 overall pick to the next level, or even a first rounder, as No. 2 overall Saquon Barkley was in the 2018 NFL Draft, the program produced six total drafted players. Ranging from No. 53 overall pick Miles Sanders and No. 90 overall Connor McGovern taken Friday night in the second and third rounds, respectively, to safety Nick Scott, who was selected with just 11 picks remaining at No. 243 overall, the Nittany Lions ultimately had every round covered after the first.

On the flip side, of course, Penn State also saw two of its early entrants - DT Kevin Givens and OL Ryan Bates - go undrafted and forced to take the free agency route. They were joined by DeAndre Thompkins, Johnathan Thomas, Kyle Vasey, and Koa Farmer, who also signed undrafted free agent contracts.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at some of the numbers and outcomes for the Nittany Lions coming out of this year's draft:

2019 NFL Draft
Round/Pick Player Team


Miles Sanders

Philadelphia Eagles


Connor McGovern

Dallas Cowboys


Shareef Miller

Philadelphia Eagles


Amani Oruwariye

Detroit Lions


Trace McSorley

Baltimore Ravens


Nick Scott

Los Angeles Rams

Undrafted Free Agents
Player Team

Ryan Bates

Philadelphia Eagles

Kevin Givens

San Francisco 49ers

Koa Farmer

Oakland Raiders

Kyle Vasey

Atlanta Falcons

Johnathan Thomas

Cincinatti Bengals

DeAndre Thompkins

Philadelphia Eagles

Four land with Eagles: Four of Penn State's former players won't even be leaving the state as they embark on their NFL careers. Between Sanders' selection in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles, plus Shareef Miller in the fourth round, and both Bates and Thompkins signing undrafted free agent contracts, the Nittany Lions will be playing just a few hours from State College.

Six is it: Penn State's six players drafted finished behind Alabama (10), Ohio State (9), Oklahoma (8), Washington (8), Texas A&M (7), and Georgia (7) for programs nationally, and finished tied with Clemson, Notre Dame, Auburn, and Ole Miss.

But for the program itself, it's a high mark matching last year's number and, before that, dating back to 2010 when the Nittany Lions also sent six into the NFL. Led by first-rounder Jared Odrick (No. 28 overall), the Nittany Lions also saw Sean Lee (2nd/55), NaVorro Bowman (3rd/91), Andrew Quarless (5th/154), Mickey Shuler, Jr. (7th/214), and Josh Hull (7th/254), all go in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Penn State's most robust NFL Draft Class came in 1987 when 13 total Nittany Lions were selected over 11 rounds, led by Shane Conlan and D.J. Dozier in the first round. But in the modern, seven-round version of the draft (since 1994), the 1997 class of 10 stands as the most.

Running Back U?: Assistant coach Ja'Juan Seider suggested this spring that Penn State could easily replace its Linebacker U moniker with the position more near and dear to his heart. And by sending Sanders to the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round, just one year after Barkley was selected No. 2 overall by the New York Giants, Seider might have a point.

The selection was the first time Penn State has sent running backs to the NFL Draft in back-to-back classes since Ki-Jana Carter was selected No. 1 overall in the 1995 draft, followed in 1996 by two selections in Stephen Pitts (6th/198 overall) and Mike Archie (7th/218).

With Sanders' pick, Penn State has now sent 62 running backs to the NFL in program history.

Jumping early: The success of Penn State players forgoing their final seasons of college eligibility in favor of pursuing their NFL dreams proved to be a mixed bag this year.

Of the Nittany Lions' six players to earn draft selections, the top three were all early entrants in Sanders, McGovern, and Miller. Still, with Bates and Givens both going undrafted, Penn State is in the less desirable position of having two early entrants not hearing their names called.

With 49 of 144 early entrants going undrafted over the weekend, that leaves Penn State to be joined by only Texas A&M and North Carolina as Power Five programs to have more than one early entrant go undrafted.

14 years and counting: With its six selections in this year's NFL Draft, the Nittany Lions improved their streak of consecutive years with at least one pick to 14.

Only in 2005 were the Nittany Lions held without a pick during the modern era and, before that, the streak of drafted players extends all the way back to 1952.

17 for Franklin: Hitting six players drafted also boosted the number of drafted players since the start of Penn State head coach James Franklin's tenure to 17.

Sending Donovan Smith to the Bucs as a second round selection in 2015, Franklin has also seen Adrian Amos, Jesse James, Austin Johnson, Christian Hackenberg, Carl Nassib, Anthony Zettel, Jordan Lucas, Chris Godwin, Saquon Barkley, and Mike Gesicki all go in the draft in addition to this year's crop of Sanders, McGovern, Miller, Oruwariye, McSorley and Scott.

Among Penn State's position groups in that span, the defensive line has been the most prolific with Johnson, Nassib, Zettel and Miller all chosen.

Odds and ends:

- Penn State has now had 356 players selected in the NFL Draft in program history.

- This is the 28th time that Penn State has had at least five players drafted.